Saudi Arabian censors are reportedly asking Disney to cut a 12-second scene from the upcoming Marvel Studios film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the studio is refusing.
However, Saudi officials have denied earlier reports that the film was to be banned in the nation, saying that they only want to cut one scene they take issue with.
According to The Guardian, the scene in question is very brief and involves lesbian character America Chavez talking about how she has two moms.
"It's just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms," Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia's general supervisor of cinema classification, said in a statement. "Being in the Middle East, it's very tough to pass something like this."
"We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing," he continued. "It will never be banned. There's no reason to ban the film. It's a simple edit...so far they have refused. But we haven't closed the door. We're still trying."
This is the same issue that happened last year when The Eternals was released and Saudi Arabia and a few other nearby countries requested scenes showing a gay couple be edited out. Disney refused to do that, and the movie wasn't released in the countries.
This news also seems to indicate that fans who had hoped America's queerness would be front and center in the film will be let down. We know that the character has patches on her jacket of a rainbow flag and another that says "amor es amor," but many fans were also hoping she'd show her sexuality and identity through more substantial actions.
When Xochitl Gomez was cast in the role, many fans of the comic book character were confused, not just because the character is usually depicted as Puerto Rican, and Gomez is Mexican-American, but also because Gomez is younger than Chavez usually is in the comics.
You can check out Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and see just how queer it is when it hits theaters on May 5.
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